Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems


Software organisations have for many years struggled to mature engineering practices using a variety of approaches. Over the last decade a new approach, known as software process improvement (SPI), has emerged and become widely used in the software industry. In this paper we position SPI in the landscape of initiatives that can be used in software organisations to mature their operations. A map is offered describing the characteristic features of SPI initiatives, the benefits and risks related to such initiatives, and the relations to complementary approaches to professionalise the industry. The map highlights management, approach, and perspective as three main concerns of SPI and lists three key ideas for each of these concerns. The map is based on an extensive survey of the SPI literature combined with experiences from SPI practice. Practitioners can use the map strategically to make decisions on whether to initiate SPI initiatives, to integrate SPI efforts with other improvement initiatives, and, more generally, to create and manage improvement programs based on SPI ideas. Researchers can use the map to identify key questions and areas of knowledge that can fruitfully inform SPI theory and practice.